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tv   Colonial America and the British Empire  CSPAN  February 26, 2017 12:00am-12:51am EST

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not everything is going to require a four-year degree. i'm not his concern about the folks that are getting four-year degrees or thd's. what are you doing after high school will get you a credential that is sexually going to get you a job? i think the federal government should be looking at the todentials that are relating employment and having conversation with the private sectors and funding those type of a partnership programs. >> watch "communicators" monday night on c-span2. on lectures in history, hampton sydney college professor coombs teaches a class on the colonial america and british empire. he talks about london merchants that controlled transatlantic shipping. the class is about 50 minutes.
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prof. coombs: all right. good day gentlemen. we have talked about up to this point, the development of a regional basis of the different colonies of english america. what i want to do today is take a step back, more of an imperial approach and talk about the maturation of the english empire. you might be curious about the date. it doesn't say 1607-1713, and hopefully the reason for that will become clear over the course of this lecture. as a point of departure, most people may think about english mainlandparticularly north america, something like this image is what comes to mind. the whole coastline filled in
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with colonies from massachusetts and maine in the north to georgia and the south, large and expensive. about with respect to other empires in north america, maps are dispersive. arguments, assertions of pretensions of claims to territory. theeality, in the middle of 17th century, the english empire looks more like this. clusters, you can barely see it. there is a dark patch around chesapeake day. a scattering of dots along the atlantic coast of into massachusetts and other areas of new england. each one of those dots represents 200 people. in other words, the colonies in english mainland north america are not altogether unlike the other parts of english america in the caribbean. those other colonies.
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they are islands in a sea of wilderness in some respects. the term colony, but in reality the english process and -- possessions in north america are more dominions in 1650. does anyone remember come away talked about this earlier about the difference between a dominion and a colony. ?had question mar >> a dominion is part of the greater empire. but they are more tied to the economic and military aspects of the overall empire. prof. coombs: perfect. great answer. dominions are off on their own. the only thing that really makes these various possessions in north america part of a large ring emerging imperial state is the fact that they are english. many of their charters have been
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issued by the crown, so they are -- their authorization for their founding comes from the english monarchy. but there are no structures to tie them to the mother country to speak up whatsoever. example, between 1644 and 1638, massachusetts received no help from england in terms of s.ghting the pequot' nor did virginia in the course of the third anglo conflict. both of these were fought entirely by the settlers themselves. using their own weapons, they had to build their own forms, they had to plan campaigns themselves. there are no english troops involved whatsoever. you have over the course of the 16 30's and 16 40's increasing dutch penetration of english possessions in terms of overseas trade.
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there are royal instructions. charles the first issued a number of directives to the virginia council of states to governors insisting tobacco being shipped from virginia and the chesapeake be sent to england for payment of customs, but there is no system of englishs requiring possessions send their produce to england at all. ok. that is going to change. in order to understand what is happening, we need to understand a little bit of english history. when we think about the acts of trade navigation, where this process begins, the first act in 1651, you probably know from reading the textbook this is usually directed towards the
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dutch. the dutch are the targets. but this is emerging. what i want to argue to you is while they are economic in content and economics is the weapon wielded by this developing english imperial state against the netherlands, the reasons are more dynastic and ideological. in order to grasp this, we need to know a little more about the ties between the house of stuart in england, the ruling family of england, and the house of orange in the netherlands. -- the potential head of the dutch state. wasiam the second of orange ,arried in 1641 two mary stuart
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known as the princess royal. charles the first is william the second's father-in-law. mary is charles's eldest daughter. he enters that office in 1647. william worked on behalf of charles supporting him in the second english civil war. following the execution of charles in 1649, william worked for the restoration of his son. to the monarchy. he was forced to flee england. you have the house of orange operating in cooperation and closely tied through marriage to the stewarts. this is important. in the meantime, in england, even as the dutch are helping charles and harboring the future
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charles the second, england undergoes a major transformation. the king being executed, the country is transformed into a commonwealth. want actorious, they parliament, the last parliament called by charles the first stripped of anybody who was persistent in terms of bringing charges and executing the king. a rough parliament. england into a commonwealth by abolishing the house of lords. the leaders at that juncture, on the left, you see john pam, the leader of a certain faction. on the right, oliver st. john, another important leader of that period. one of these guys, both of them hold that vision. if you think back to that article that we read on the
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ecological -- origins of the english empire, that sense of apocalyptic thinking that informed elizabethans had been so important in the founding of virginia in 1607. it spilled over into the founding of massachusetts. this is all part of the same group, those 50 people. i said we could write the history of the formation of the english empire the 17th century. -- century by looking at biographies of about 50 guys. these men hold that same vision. it is going to reach it's fulfillment. they are going to pursue this into the western design, which we have already discussed. at this juncture, the immediate object is to try and craft a union with the united provinces. not an alliance. not a military or economic alliance, they want to combine england, scotland, and ireland
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with the united provinces into a single powerful protestant state. this is what they want to achieve. the person who crosses english channel to negotiate and enter those negotiations with the state generals in the netherlands is all a person john, the guy on the right. because of his growing outrage of the pro-royalist actions factions within some of the provinces and the provocations of their deputies over these negotiations to form an anglo dutch union, st. john eventually departs the discussed, comes back and has a major hand in writing up and rams through parliament this first act of trade navigation of 1651 to punish them. to punish these elements within
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the dutch polity that don't want to do the right thing. what this fact is, first, it banned foreign ships. the second thing, it banned third-party country ships transporting goods from a country elsewhere in europe to england. effectively, it eliminates the dutch from trading with england or its colonies. it is an aggressive action to punish them. but in the long-term, we know these actions, because it pertains to the colonies and not act england itself, the marks the first step toward the imperial regulation of colonial trade. the growing tensions resulting after that act, after england passes that, set the stage for the first anglo dutch war of 1652-1654.
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fight ais going to series of wars over the 17th century. the parliament headed by a state acting as an executive begins this war with the dutch in 1652. as it moves forward, there are are further political developments within england. frustrated at the refusal to call for new elections to elect a new parliament and establish a broadly based, tolerant national church. in 1653, oliver cromwell dissolves parliament by force and is eventually soon thereafter appointed lord protector for life. here we see him walking into the house of parliament, forcing members out. ise of him in his gu lord protector.
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england gained the upper hand in the naval struggle even as the war produces no clear winner. despite the end of the conflict, the navigation act of 1651 remains enforced throughout the remainder of the decade. after cromwell died in 1658, his son richard was unable to consolidate power as a successor. a struggle ensued between the army and the restored parliament that a come back in power in 1659, which led to political maneuvering for the return of the monarchy. that happens in 1660. the restoration of the stewart's s and the throne of england. charles gained the throne. when he did so, all laws adopted between the execution of his father and his own restoration, this is a period of history we call the interregnum, it was deemed null and void. yet almost immediately, new tensions begin to develop between england and the united
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provinces over the status of charles the second's nephew. william the third of orange. claims to offices his father william the second had held was blocked by johann defect. he controlled the majority faction within the states general. of the netherlands. he was a committed republican and opponent of the return of the house of orange to power. charles' restoration effectively reverses the ideological position of england and the netherlands that had prevailed during the first anglo dutch war. at that junction, it was english republican frustration at the royalist orange sympathizers in
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the netherlands that prompted the first trade navigation. now we have restored monarchy wanting to see them return to power. so, a complete change in the polarity of their positions. out of conviction, the republican faction within the states general is working to achieve his overthrow. charles took steps to aid his nephew william the third and undermined control of the dutch government. one part of that program consisted of a new and more stringent navigation act, which was passed in 1660.
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one of the first things done after the restoration. this new navigation act required trading with england be english owned, captain by an englishman and have crews that were three quarters english. it listed commodities such as tobacco, sugar and cotton and required ship captains post bond to ensure their compliance. it also provided for the appointment of naval officers in each of the colonies that were monitored shipping and ensure compliance with the regulation. this is when we see naval officers tipping list in barbados and so on. we have a customs officers appointed by the crown, through the nomination of governors, who were regulating the trade of the empire. this system is going to further arelop, additional acts passed in 1663, 6096 that
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further tighten the economic dimensions of this developing english empire. but throughout the same decades, the crown did almost nothing to defend the largely coastal english populations in america. from thein america hostile actions of european powers and native americans. we are seeing with english empire looks like and 60 and 75. at least with respect to the main lands. it is very coastal in its character. in 1664, charles ordered aggressive actions be taken in africa and north america, in the conquest of new netherlands. these moves precipitated the outbreak of a second anglo dutch war. a famous admiral retaliated by
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shifting the company of royal adventure is from all of trading posts in west africa and crossed the atlantic and attacked barbados. other dutch naval forces burnt tobacco ships and the chesapeake in 1667 and 1673 during the third and final anglo dutch war. however, no effort is made by england in this period to defend its possessions in north america. nor did england become involved in king philip's war. it happened after the conclusion of the third anglo dutch war. king philip's war in new england was fought almost entirely by settlers. the small contingent of 2000 baconser to suppress rebellion in virginia in 1676 arrived in 1677 after the rebellion had been crushed.
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they were quickly disbanded thereafter. no real intrusion there. in short, england's overseas settlements remained in a imperial halfway house where the economic bonds were becoming ever stronger, but they still received little in the way of support to protect them from enemies. in the case of virginia, the combined expense of building coastal fortifications to protect against future dutch assaults on the chesapeake, and interior forts to guard against the indians led to higher levels of taxation that paid a significant role transforming incursions by native americans into a full-blown civil war. before it was over, it's all the capital of james city reduced to ashes. they are off on their own. still dominion like in many respects. with respect to the chesapeake,
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the most economically valuable zone of english colonization in north america, the key turning point in the development of this last piece of the empire, the defensive network that would tie them with the mother country , occurred in the aftermath of the revolution which saw the catholic king james the second, who had come to the throne in 1685, overthrown by the invasion force led by his protestant son-in-law, william the third of orange. the same young man that had fought to keep from coming to power in the netherlands, that charles had tried to help in terms of foreign policy, now is the instrument of overthrowing the stewarts, at least james the second, and issuing in this era of english politics but the glorious revolution. william of orange had inherited his offices after the execution
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by a mob in 1672. , he came to england, invaded england and would be named joint monarch along with daughter mary.s' williams position is such that he draws england into the nine years war of 1688 to 1697. alliance notto an only with the netherlands but in the war of the austrian succession, spanish succession, excuse me. an alliance with the austrian empire in pressure. this is a conflict between 1702 and 1713. is the dies and and
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monarch, but it is william pushing english foreign policy operating now in conjunction rather than in opposition. it was during this prolonged period of warfare that england would for the first time expend significant resources to protect the american plantation. this is what is going to give rise to this imperial state. by way of talking about this, i want to focus on the chesapeake. this is the most economically valuable possession in north america. we can see the effects of this emerging imperial structure on society. in two weeks, i have captured the changing neighbor -- nature of empire. what you see in this slide is capturing both tobacco output from the chesapeake colonies and prices over the course of the 17th century.
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this line right here is prices. the price of tobacco. this is the farm gate price, the price of tobacco in the chesapeake. so if i was a ship captain and i -- of thee puck toxic james and i was going to buy tobacco, this is the changing in price that i would pay for. you can see we talked about earlier, you have this long-term trend of downward change in prices with those intervening fluctuations. that boom and bust cycle. the other line is the output of tobacco. the two red lines, the red towers, these mark the warfare i was talking about.
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good food -- you can see that after the incredible growth in output, by the time we get here, it flattens out. a lot of historians have interpreted this as more or less a stagnation in the growth of the chesapeake colonies, which led to an economic depression in virginia and maryland. i would argue this represents the institution of a convoy and embargo regime. which is adopted by the english government to protect the major staple trade of the empire and transatlantic slave trade over these years of war. basically the way this system , operated is you have the whole purpose of trade navigation, not only to control trade of course, to keep the dutch from
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involvement in the imperial economy, but to build up the english merchant marine. i always tell students, these are the acts of trade and navigation. the reason this is done, merchant marines were the nursery of seamen. you know the strong merchant marine and in times of war, you can draw on those sailors to staff warships of your navy. now it is a time of warfare and sailors need to staff ships. so you have to restrict the number of sailors available for commerce. in this convoy and embargo regime, each major overseas trade of the empire is allocated a certain number of sailors. the chesapeake, this begins with like 800 sailors. the west indies gets its allotment.
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the african trade gets its allotment and so forth. the embargo portion of this, when you want to protect these merchant ships as they move out to the open ocean, and subject to attacks from privateers. we are going to escort them. they're going to be escorted by warships. to do this, we have to consolidate them in one area. on the english side, these chips consolidate -- ships consolidate in places like the downs where ships will depart on their voyages. you collect them. an embargo is placed on ships leaving. it's a ship leaves and is captured, it could give the enemy information about the cargo. when is it going to sail and so on?
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after the convoy leaves, there is a further embargo and ships can come and go. these convoys headed out across the atlantic, to africa, the caribbean or the chesapeake. in the case of the chesapeake , they gather in hampton roads. that gray bay. the lower part of the chesapeake bay. one of the english investments in this system is the assignment of men of war to guard the entrance to the chesapeake bay. while it is huge, lots of rivers coming off of it, lots of creeks and bays and rivers, there's only one way in and one way out. you park in english man-of-war or two to guard the entrance to the bay, youto don't need to build these coastal forts it has failed so miserably protecting the fleet in the anglo dutch wars.
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we have english man-of-war stationed. the convoy arrives. it enters the bay accompanied by man-of-war. they reassembled down in the lower part of the bay. the same embargo is holding while they are doing that. eventually they had back across the atlantic to england. man-of-warrted by where they are offloaded and so on. this is how the system works. this helps to explain this kind of stagnation. what we're seeing is not performance of the chesapeake of economy, the effect of this convoy and embargo regime. when you have a tight control over the number of ships engaging in the trade during these war years, 800 sailors, eventually to 1000, there's a finite number of ships that can
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be staffed with that number of sailors. of course you will see a flattening out. remains thesically same size over the course of the conflict until it is over, out. -- then it begins to grow again. having done this, this is occurring at a time when politics within england as a result of the glorious revolution, is becoming more consultative in character. instead of a stuart monarch with absolutist pretensions dictating what england is and is not going to do, you have parliament playing an active role and a monarchy accepting parliament as a partner in this endeavor. one of the key things that would happen in this process, eventually what happened is the transformation of the lords of trade in plantations, a subset of the lords privy council.
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this gives way in 1696 to the board of trade, a professional appointed body, paid a salary that is supposed to be governing all aspects of england's possessions overseas. as part of this new consultative form of politics, this extends to matters of defense. imperial concerns. both in terms of customs duties and the organization of the convoy embargo regime. this is important because of the extent of this english effort. during the course of these wars and the intervening peace, the nine years war, and the war of the spanish succession, and this 40-60period of peace, guns are dispatched to the chesapeake. 16,000 sailors will spend time
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in the chesapeake over the war. this is a tremendous investment of resources by the english imperial state. unprecedented. nothing like this had happened before. but he was going to govern this? what ships should sail? who will be included? as a result of this consultative form of politics, once again, when you bring in a legislative body as an equal player, this will make things subject to political pressure. instead of just an official responsible only to the crown making decisions, now we get the formation of pressure groups that will bring testimony, argued paul newman -- argued of parliament, submit petitions, and so on. this happens in terms of the management of this convoy and embargo regime with respect to the chesapeake. in the fall of 1691, 15 men who
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call themselves the principle merchants of this port of london in virginia and maryland led by three guys. you can see here, if you can read it, john jeffries, thomas and william and peter packet. yes? you have a question. student: what are the names in red mean? prof. coombs: these are the names of the guys whose names are on this petition. so, no different. it's probably a little bit hard to read for you guys. the names in red are the ones we know about, although they are in's for a larger body of importing merchants. so these 15 men demanded that a number of ships that had been designated to go to chesapeake
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in the convoy of 1691, and therefore have been marked against the quota allocated to the chesapeake trade, they demanded they be disallowed. because they are the ones who pay the most customs, most in customs duties. we see here in 1686, you have a fairly short list of men importing, if you can read that number. these are all men importing more than 240,000 pounds of tobacco in 1686, so it is a fairly short list. collectively, they import over 11 million pounds of tobacco, which constitutes 65% of all tobacco imported into london that year. these are the big players in other words, involved in the overseas tobacco trade. they say they know this trade. they pay the most customs, and there are a number of ships that have been allocated in virginia
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and allocated to the chesapeake and counted against its quota, which should not be there. and so they then turned to the connections they have with the secretary of lords of trade, and influential members of this developing imperial establishment who tells them to petition the queen and ask for relief. this is the petition, the list of men who engaged in it. after they talk to the queen, three days later, the privy council issues an order directing that these are the guys who would determine what ships should and should not be included in the convoy. they are the experts. this is part of this consultative form of politics. these guys know how the chesapeake tobacco trade runs. if you want to know how best to make this convoy work to make it function, the least possible disruption, these are the guys to ask.
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and all of this is done in the office of public good, and one of the things their most successful at is they are good at is getting their own private interests more or less aligned with what is for the public good. ok, so, now, why is that these guys are such big importers? as we talked about when we were discussing the development of the chesapeake economy, these are the men who are the receiving agents in the consignment trade and tobacco. remember, beginning with the way tobacco is marketed, ships come over generally in the fall. that time of year. they would make their way up the various rivers and creeks. they would have a cache of goods to sell. they would ask the guy, what do you want and they would exchange the goods for tobacco at a determined price. depending on the size of the crop and so on. what begins to happen is as
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early as the 16 40's and 16 50's, some of the larger planters in the chesapeake begin trading on their own account. there is always a price spread between the price of tobacco in the chesapeake colonies and the price it commands on the wholesale market in london, and so instead of just accepting the price that this random ship captain might have to offer me, i will instead send the tobacco to england on my own account and pay a commission to someone to market it there for me. this developing consignment trade ties the larger planters of virginia and maryland to these english merchants, most of them in london. and this is crucial. yes? student: [inaudible] prof. coombs: yes, they do. two of the people you will see francis lee is a
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cousin of the lees of virginia but william willis is a virginia planter. just below this list is daniel park, also member of virginia council of state. but you do see these planters increasingly building ships. in fact, the largest ship to lead the tobacco fleet during 1702, the ship relieving the english man-of-war had not arrived yet when the convoys were ready to depart, was the indian king, which belonged to daniel park. many of these planters are gaining the profits from freight as well as the price differential. yes? student: [inaudible] prof. coombs: many of the guys are doing this, if you think back to when he talked about the chesapeake, the sweet scented joan in -- zone on the southern
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bank or rather the northern bank of the rappahannock river and the northern bank of the james, so the middle and lower peninsulas, and the lower half of the northern neck, this sweet scented zone of virginia. many of these leading planters are there. marylanders aren't, so it is not exclusively sweet scented growers. in virginia, most of the tobacco going over from virginia is sweet scented. great question. so what happens over the course of the war? as the supplies of tobacco in england become more scarce, the price spread between the price given for tobacco in the chesapeake and the price given for tobacco in england grows ever larger. you see here how small it is in the 1660's, 1670's, but then we get to the war years and it starts to grow. so this is important.
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their crop to market in wartime stands to make a killing. this is important. very crucially important for a number of reasons. a couple of things happen as a result of this. one, this incredible -- a notable consolidation in growth in the number of large forms -- firms importing tobacco in the chesapeake. you see here that they account for 65% of the imported total into london in 1686. this list has gone larger in 1697, but now they account for 77% of the tobacco coming into england. so even though this list has gone larger, most of the is coming from smaller importers being eliminated. consolidated on the english end, which given what i
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said about how this embargo regime works should make sense. these the guys who are deciding what ships are included in the convoy, what ships do you think they decide need to be included in the convoy? they will be evenhanded and let everybody, first come first serve? what do you think would happen? would be inir ships there. prof. coombs: their ships. that is right. those will be the ships they have the interest in. on the other end of the trade, they have those relationships with consigning planters, and the convoy is controlled on the chesapeake side largely by the virginia council of state. many of them are in that sweet scented zone that we talked about with respect to the chesapeake economy, so these are the guys deciding once these ships arrived in the chesapeake what happens to them. who gets tobacco on board?
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you think you will load everybody's tobacco first come first served? their tobacco will get on their first and the tobacco they purchase from their neighbors. so you effectively have this leading merchants of london, the leading planters and chesapeake, who are controlling this trade for 20 years, which is crucial. it has a number of ramifications. let's skip ahead here. right, one of them was, well, one of them going back to that to that slide, is this consolidation i talked about. how you get the growth, you move from the low 60's upwards of 77% to 80% of the tobacco i this -- by this well-defined group. another result is a significant advance in the fortunes of the leading chesapeake planters, particularly those in virginia, but also including
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well-connected marylanders, who consolidated their position atop the regions socioeconomic hierarchy and fill their pockets with the profits necessary to not only dramatically expand the laborf their slave forces, which they do in the early decades of the 18th century, but also construct these impressive mansions for which tidewater is renowned. this was built by robert king carter in the 1720's. this is a party house, according to the architectural historian. this is not where he lived. it is a house they built to hang out, drink, and have fun. it is pretty impressive. another one is rosewell in gloucester county. it burns only a couple of years after it is constructed, so it
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has been explored archaeology. rosewell will also burn, but not until later. it is well into the age of photography, so actually have pictures of what it looked like. this is built by man page the first and gloucester. john page, the founder of the family and arrived in the 17th century and built an impressive house at middle plantation, now williamsburg, in 1662, so this is his great-grandson, built this, begins this construction in 1725. this is in the aftermath of this period. this is cutting-edge architecture even for england. it has this nice spot up here a glass enclosure with this balcony where you can hang out and drink and look over your domain, so to speak. yes? student: what burned down, was
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that the dutch group and talking about? prof. coombs: no, this has a hipped roof. it has this arcaded portico. there is a brick-lined tunnel. it is very elaborate. so if we are looking at the point in chesapeake history when these leading elites consolidate their position and become the leading families of virginia and maryland, they are already there before the war period begins. that is why they are in position to take advantage of wartime and the structures of empire and -- that the embargo regime provide, but as a result of this, they really cement their places atop the society. the other result gave rise to the so-called virginia lobby, which was effectively a
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political alliance between the leading planters of the chesapeake and their consigning merchant partners on the other. at the end of the 1690's, taking advantage of that consultative politics that developed up to the glorious revolution, this alliance would chalk up impressive successes, which included a long-sought after ban on loose or bulk tobacco. used to have ships that would go to england. sailors would take bundles of tobacco and stuff them between the hogsheads in the hold of the ship, and when they arrived in england, they could slip them pass customs, but overall it retards the price of the tobacco market, so leading planters in the chesapeake had been seeking to ban bulk tobacco for a number of years, at least since 1680.
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they were able to achieve that and get that legislation passed by parliament at the end of the 1690's. they were also successful in removing governor francis nicholson from office and operating in cooperation with west indian and other interests , succeeded in bringing about the in of monopoly control over the english transatlantic slave trade, which led to an expansion size of the -- transatlantic slave trade in the early decades of the 18th century. so powerful was the group, that one of nicholson's successors would contend in 1718 that "it is well-known for these 30 years past that no governor had long escaped being vilified in his first year and misrepresented at home then he began to discover the intrigues and politics of this formidable party."
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this combination of chesapeake planters and london merchants. they are really one of the first imperial pressure groups to push an agenda, and in the 1690's, they really succeeded. eventually this will fall apart. we will talk about that later. in short, the british empire after 1707 that emerged around the turn of the 18th century, it worked quite well for men of means and influence on both sides of the atlantic, who were able to work the corridors of politics to online their own interest to the public good. but the imperial structures were designed to cover islands. you can see how small. this is 7000. 1700. still how coastal these english possessions in north america are. and so, they were worked
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governing islands that would prove woefully inadequate as mainland economies grew at an astonishing way, and amazing rate, and in the process underwent transformation from islands in a sea of wilderness into emerging leviathan arms pushing further into the interior of the continent. we will pick that up next week. very good. thanks. [applause] >> join us every saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern as we join students in college classrooms to hear lectures on topics raising from the american revolution to 9/11. lectures and history are also available as podcasted visit our web site or download them from itunes. watch c-span's president donald trump delivers his first address to a joint session of congress. >> this congress is going to be
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